Nov. 15 / October home sales here fall
The Spokane Association of Realtors said 304 homes were sold here in October through the Multiple Listing Service, down sharply from 509 sales in October 2009, when a federal income tax credit helped boost sales. Sales during the first 10 months of the year totaled 3,634 homes, down from 3,847 homes in the year-earlier period. The median sales price here in October was $166,250, up from $164,900 in the year-earlier month.
Nov. 8 / Workers Comp rates to rise 12 percent
The Washington state Department of Labor & Industries announced it will increase workers' compensation insurance premiums an average increase of 12 percent, equating to 6.5 cents per hour worked, beginning Jan. 1, 2011, under an emergency rule effective for 120 days. L&I said it will hold public hearings in January before adopting permanent rates.
Nov. 9 / Mall owner emerges from Chapter 11
General Growth Properties Inc., the Chicago-based owner of more than 180 shopping malls, including three of the largest malls in the Spokane-Coeur d'Alene area, said it has emerged from Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection after completing financial restructuring in one of the largest and most complex bankruptcy cases in U.S. corporate history. As part of its reorganization plan, General Growth Properties restructured $15 billion in debt, recapitalized with $6.8 billion in new equity capital, paid all creditor claims, and split itself into two independent publicly traded corporations, with shareholders receiving common stock in both companies.
Nov. 4 / Group buys Black Rock golf course
The Golf Club at Black Rock LLC, of Coeur d'Alene, bought the North Idaho golf course, beach club, and related facilities formerly operated as the Club at Black Rock LLC, from a Spokane-based Washington Trust Bank holding company. The new ownership group, formed by eight homeowners in the luxury golf community above Lake Coeur d'Alene, said it had terminated memberships at the Club at Black Rock, sold new memberships to most of the former club's members, and also started selling memberships to non-Black Rock residents. Marshall Chesrown, who developed the 382-homesite community, earlier this year transferred certain Black Rock assets to the bank in lieu of foreclosure.
Nov. 3 / Red Lion adds California franchises
Red Lion Hotels Corp., of Spokane, signed franchise license agreements with owners of two Northern California hotels. One of the properties, a 111-room, limited-service hotel in Rancho Cordova, Calif., near Sacramento, is set to open as a Red Lion Inn in January. The other property will be named the Red Lion Hotel Oakland Airport and is a 189-room independent hotel.
Nov. 2 / Voters take strong 'no' stance
Voters here rejected, with a more than 60 percent "no" vote, a general election ballot measure that would have raised property taxes in the city of Spokane to fund efforts to reduce the high school dropout rate. Statewide, voters rejected five of seven initiatives, including measures that would have privatized liquor sales and created a state income tax for high-income residents. One of the two initiatives they approved, both overwhelmingly, eliminates several new taxes created this year by state lawmakers, including on candy and bottled water, while the other requires a two-thirds majority in each legislative chamber to raise taxes.
Nov. 2 / Republicans roll
Republicans captured, or appeared to capture, a number of local offices in the general election, mirroring a strong national trend. Republican challenger Al French led Democratic County Commissioner Bonnie Mager in the latest vote tally, and Republican challenger Rob Chase defeated Democratic County Treasurer Skip Chilberg. Additionally, county employee Vicki Horton defeated incumbent Assessor Ralph Baker, in a race between two Republicans. In legislative and congressional races, Republican challenger Michael Baumgartner defeated incumbent State Sen. Chris Marr in the Sixth District, incumbent Democratic U.S. Sen. Patty Murray fended off Republican challenger Dino Rossi, and Republican incumbent U.S. Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers easily bested Democratic challenger Daryl Romeyn.
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